I love the poster on the left because it illustrates the subtle differences in thought that make leaders stand out and succeed.
There are many areas of leadership we can talk about but tonight I want to share a little thought about thinking like a leader because I believe it all starts with the right mindset.
One of my mentors taught me that when a baby elephant is born into captivity the trainers drive a solid wood stake deep into the ground so that it is firm and immovable. They will then take a heavy chain and secure the baby elephant’s leg to the stake. The baby elephant will pull, and pull, and tug with all its might trying to break free but to no avail. Over time the baby elephant will develop a mindset that it is impossible to escape.
As the elephant gets older and stronger, because of the mindset it has developed the owner can replace the strong chain with a simple string, and yet the elephant won’t pull against it or break free to freedom. It seems crazy, this huge elephant being held captive by a tiny string but the elephant isn’t being held back by the string, it’s being held back by it’s thinking.
Our thinking holds us back as well. Steve Jobs said it well, when he said, “Your time is limited, so don’t waste it living someone else’s life. Don’t be trapped by dogma – which is living with the results of other people’s thinking. Don’t let the noise of others’ opinions drown out your own inner voice. And most important, have the courage to follow your heart and intuition.”
If you want to be a leader – start thinking like a leader. The characteristics, attributes and actions of a leader will follow.